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City of Grand Rapids hosted a viewing party for the Olympic opening ceremony

Five Olympic rings carved into ice. - Tatiana Diaz

Friday night, the city of Grand Rapids hosted a viewing party for the Opening Ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics at Rosa Parks Circle.

During the ceremony, attendees skated on the Rosa Parks Ice Rink while others watched a live stream of the opening ceremony via a small screen on the stage in front of the rink. Others walked around and observed some of the Olympic-themed ice sculptures that lined the sidewalk.

Some event goers commented on the Olympics.

“I like watching ice skating,” said Kenzie Rice, 22, of Grand Rapids. “If (snowboarder) Shaun White is in the Olympics, I’ll be watching.”

Robert Cebelak, 71, of Grand Rapids has been coming to Rosa Parks Circle for 55 years and reflected back to the 1980 Winter Olympics in New York when the Soviet Union hockey team was defeated by the United States hockey team.

“I’ll be watching hockey,” Cebelak said. “When the U.S. beat the Russians, man what a game. Those grown men were beat by 18-year-old kids. The memories are so fond for me to see how this city has grown and changed.”

For those watching this years’ Olympics, keep an eye out for Michigan athletes:

Madison Hubbell, of Okemos along with her ice dancing partner Zachary Donohue, of Madison, Connecticut.

Also completing in partner ice dancing is Maia and Alex Shibutani, of Ann Arbor, and Madison Chock, of Novi, and Evan Bates, of Ann Arbor.

Two athletes from the good ‘ol “high five state” will be competing in speed skating.

On her second trip to the Olympics (2014), Jessica Kooreman of Melvindale, will be competing in the 1,000-meter race and then again in the 1,500-meter race and Ryan Pivirotto, yet another Ann Arbor resident will be competing in the short track race.

There are four hockey players representing Michigan. Megan Keller, of  Farmington, plays defense for the women’s team. Defensemen James Wisniewski, of Canton Township, and Chad Billins, of Marysville, will also be playing and last but certainly not least, Jim Slater, of Lapeer, will serve as a forward for the team. Billins attended Ferris State University and played for the Grand Rapids Griffins in the team’s first Calder Cup championship season in 2012-13.

To top off this great group of Michiganders, Kyle Mack, of West Bloomfield, will be taking to the slopes in slopestyle and big air snowboarding. Three-time Olympic athlete Nick Baumgartner, of Iron River, is competing in snowboard cross. Baumgartner participated in the Vancouver Games in 2010 and then again in the Sochi Games in 2014.

The last day of the Olympics will be on Feb. 25. Channels including NBC, NBCSN, CNBC and USA Network will be airing the games.


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